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March 31, 2014

The Addictive Dots App Gets Social

By Sasha Levine | Technology

Olympus Music Festival
Photo © Dots .

The highly addictive smartphone app Dots has always been about connecting, but its latest 2.0 update takes the premise to the next level. The game’s brand-new Challenge Mode social feature, which debuted last week, lets players go head to head with their friends or get randomly matched with people around the world.

“Being able to compete against another person in Dots was something we'd been thinking about since day one,” says co-creator Patrick Moberg. “The random elements of a game can have a big impact on your score, so being able to compete on the exact same board allows you to really see who is the best Dots player.”

Moberg and co-creator Paul Murphy, both of media-product builder Betaworks, launched the strategy game—whose objective is to connect as many dots of the same color in 60 seconds—in May 2013. It has since remained one of the more popular free apps, currently attracting 500,000 active users a day.

It helps, of course, that it’s both simple and visually pleasing, informed by the artwork of blue-chip artists like Damien Hirst and Yayoi Kusama; Kusama’s pieces inspired the core idea behind Dots. “[Her] work insists that art and fun are not mutually exclusive, so we wanted to apply that thinking to games,” says Moberg. “Just because something is a game doesn't mean it has to be covered with cartoon characters and carnival music.”

Plus, he says, it’s comforting to know that now there will always be someone to keep you company while playing at 3 A.M. For iOS and Android; weplaydots.com.